Category Archives: Are we not men?

Steep and Deep for Auré, Leo and Pica in the Couloir du Gypaète

chamlines_s03e02_Couloirdu Gypaete

A casual 55˚

Ep 2 of Aurélien Ducroz’s ChamLines is a beauty, indeed.

Aurélien Ducroz, Leo Slemett and noted steep line slayer Julien ‘Pica’ Herry head down valley to the Couloir du Gypaète above Plateau d’Assy.

The east-facing couloir has around 500 vertical meters with another 500 meters of approach/cruisey pow turns below it. The majority of the line rests at 45˚ with the top 150m closer to 55˚.  And you’ll also see from the vid that there are sections so narrow that the only option is pointing it or rappelling. Any guesses as to which road this crew took?



Davide Capozzi and Stefano Bigio Nail First Descent on Mont Rochefort

Stefano Bigio

Meanwhile over on the sunny side, Davide Capozzi and Stefano Bigio stuck a first descent down the SW face of Mont Rochefort – a route they’ve been eyeing for years.

Davide CapozziIn a post on, Capozzi reports, “The descent is continuously exposed, down 45° – 50° slopes. The snow varied considerably since it hadn’t settled completely. We made [two] abseils [down] the final section, one 50m abseil followed by a second, shorter one.”

Capozzi and Bigio rate the route 5.2 E3 and called it Pente a Rémy in honor of Rémy Lecluse who originally suggested skiing the line together.

Check out the full story on

Davide Capozzi, Stefano Bigio

Roch Malnuit Gets Some Air Time

As you know, Roch Malnuit is a homeboy Chamonix slayer who’s been climbing, sliding and flying around these mountains since he was born. But what you might not be aware of is that his buddy Timothee Nalet thought it was about time Roch got a bit more air time – and we’re not talking about the kind that comes from hurling yourself off sheer rock faces – so he posted this sweet mini-documentary.

Oh yeah, and did I mention he’s an OG shredder as well? How about some first snowboard descent action on Mt Buet?

Want more? Swing by his website and see how Roch’s rollin’.

Xavier de Le Rue’s This Is My Winter (full tamale) – That’s One Helluva Season Edit, Xavier

Y’know how it is when there’s no snow. You’re sitting around with nothing to do so you decide it’s time to clean up the ol’ desktop. But before you trash all that footy from last season you figure you might as well mash it up into a season edit.

Funny, but mine doesn’t look quite like Xavier’s…

Rémy Lécluse, Glen Plake Score First Descent on Pointe de le Lune

Critical turns in big mountains; Plake doing what Plake does best.

“It was really fun. Every turn was different and I’m not lying, it really was perfect conditions. It was impeccable, it was perfect.” -Glen Plake

Will someone please tell Rémy Lécluse and Glen Plake how bad this pre-ski season sucks in Europe? These guys have clearly been left off the Negativeland email list or else they would have known better than to drive a couple hours south and pin a first descent (in November!) when they should have been hanging out in the bars whinging about not enough snow, or too many gorgeous autumn days, or the empty trails and rock routes, or the color of the sky, or pretty much anything, really.

Rémy Lécluse

But these two have been around long enough to know that good snow ain’t that hard to find if you just know where to look. On November 19th the two big-mountain ballers tapped the pristine southeast couloir of 3777m Pointe de la Lune (Punta Ceresole) on the Cresta Gastaldi of Gran Paradiso.

Glen Plake

Lécluse spotted the couloir while skiing in Val di Piantonetto. Believing that the strong foehn wind that had hammered Chamonix he contacted Plake who immediately said yes.

“People give me heck for being so enthusiastic about skiing but I think Rémy may have me beat. He’s always fired up to go do something on his skis. I mean I get excited but he’s like a little kid. It’s great to be around.” -Glen Plake

Remy Lecluse, Glen PlakeThe team chose an alternative approach to the classic Val d’Orco route, choosing instead to go in through Val Piantonetto where the road goes to 1917m. “Less walking, more skiing is our motto!”

Ivrea bvouac, Remy Lecluse

Rémy in the 60-year-old Bivacco Ivrea. "Sleeps 9 if they like each other very, very much."

Lécluse and Plake skinned up to Col del Becchi at 2989 meters, cutting trail through 20-30cm of powder before scoring nice powder turns down to the Bivacco Ivrea. “Powder, powder and more powder!”

Lécluse and Plake left the bivy the next morning at 7:00, were at the bottom of the couloir by 8:00 and on the summit at 9:30. Rémy reports the first chute is about 100-150 meters long, 45˚, and 2-to-4 meters wide.

The big powder field in the middle was around 30˚ and about 300 meters long.

The bottom section was around 500 vertical meters, ‘quite wide’, at “an average of 40-45˚ with some solid 50.”

Plake in the middle powder field.

The team skied the route in about half an hour, which includes the time it took to shoot photos.

“The run wasn’t that steep, mostly around 40˚-45˚ with some sections around 50˚, maybe a bit more. The big slope above the cliff  was especially beautiful. That’s where we found that special ambiance that you only get from steep skiing.” -Rémy Lécluse

Some downclimbing was needed to get through the last chimney before scoring “an amazing powder skiing party” back to the Ivrea. An hour of skinning took them back to Col del Becchi before they tucked in to the icing on the cake: hundreds of powder turns between snow mushrooms in perfect powder, then a last 100 meters of breakable crust back to the Rifugio Pontese.

Gran Paradiso Massif, Punta di Ceresole (3777m), southeast couloir. 600 meters, 40-45˚/50˚, 5.2, E3

Two days, 2000 meters of powder skiing, and a sweet first descent. In November. Would somebody please tell these guys how bad the snow sucks!

Rémy Lécluse, Glen Plake

Are we not men? Rémy Lécluse, Glen Plake

Rémy skis: Dynastar Mythic 178 (Rémy worked on design/testing)                            boots: Scarpa Maestrale                                                                                                         binders: Plum Guide                                                                                                              outerwear: Arc’teryx Atom jacket, Gamma trousers                                                        backpack: Arc’teryx Silo 30 pack                                                                                         hardware: Grivel Air-Tech carbon axes, Grivel Air-Tech crampons

Glen skis: Elan Himalaya 177 “My new favorite pair of skis – 95 underfoot and less than 1400 gms. It’s the big brother to the Elan Alaska that I helped design and which just won Ski of the Year from Ski Alper magazine.”                                 boots: Dalbello Virus Lite                                                                                                      binders: Plum Guide                                                                                                              outerwear: Salewa Glen Plake Choice (pants, jacket, down sweater, gloves)             backpack: Salewa Glen Plake Choice                                                                                  hardware: Salewa crampons “a hybrid I made using a steel front and aluminum heel.” Charlet Aztarex ice axe.                                                                                              eyewear: Julbo Explorer “everyone knows these are the best mountain sunglasses in the world, hands down.”                                                                               poles: Leki WC. “A little longer than nromal for touring and steeps. Fixed length, not adjustable!!! I don’t trust or use adjustable poles for steeps.”                                sleeping bag: “We didn’t know what we would find at the refuge so I took my new -8˚ Salewa bag. It’s light, under a kilo. Even though the bivouac ended up being fully equipped the bag was really cozy, it’s frikkin nice.”